Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青) yesterday accused Taipei Zoo of selling poor-quality Chinese products at inflated prices in its gift shops, urging the zoo to replace them with souvenirs made in Taiwan.
Hsu said the zoo was selling stuffed animals and other products made in China and that parents were concerned about their safety.
“Chinese products have such a bad reputation, but 90 percent of the toys in the gift shops are from China. The panda toys are made in China and the Formosan black bear stuffed animals are made in China, too,” Hsu said during a visit to one of the zoo’s gift shops.
Hsu said the zoo was taking advantage of the interest in Tuan-tuan and Yuan-yuan to sell overpriced panda souvenirs.
Snacks in the gift shop at the Panda Hall and at outdoor booths in the zoo including panda noodles and panda candy are three times as expensive as similar snacks found in supermarkets, she said.
“The Fair Trade Commission should look into the situation. Is it okay to triple the price of products just because they have panda images on them?” she asked.
In response, Taipei Zoo spokesman Jason Chin (金仕謙) said the zoo had set up “made in Taiwan” areas in the gift shops and that most of the products in the shops — from T-shirts to key rings — were made by local manufacturers.
The stuffed animals, however, are made in China because it dominates the stuffed animal market, Chin said, adding that most stuffed animals in Taiwan, the US and other countries are from China.
Chin said the zoo would work with local companies to offer more products that are made in Taiwan.
“Most of the products made in Taiwan are more expensive than the ones imported from China. We are willing to provide local products and hope consumers are willing to pay more to support these products,” he said.
Chin also said the zoo would examine the price of its products to ensure they are fair.